September 26, 2020

#BookReview: Toward That Which Is Beautiful by Marian O'Shea Wernicke






Synopsis: On an ordinary day in June of 1964 in a small town in the Altiplano of Peru, Sister Mary Katherine (formerly known as Kate), a young American nun recently arrived in this very foreign place, walks away from her convent with no money and no destination. Desperate and afraid of her feelings for an Irish priest with whom she has been working, she spends eight days on the run, encountering a variety of characters along the way: a cynical Englishman who helps her out; a suspicious Peruvian police officer who takes her in for questioning; and two American Peace Corps workers who befriend her. As Kate traverses this dangerous physical journey through Peru, she also embarks upon an interior journey of self-discovery―one that leads her somewhere she never could have expected. 



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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
My Review: Are you ready to go to Peru? This was a beautifully written story about the people, culture and their way of life.  This was wonderfully and I can not wait for more. 









Review

"In her novel, Wernicke, a former nun who once worked in Peru, turns what could be a simple tale of forbidden romance into something far more complex. . . . A moving, emotionally resonant tale of one woman's crisis of faith."
--Kirkus Reviews
"Toward That Which Is Beautiful is a lyrical journey of faith and love. Wernicke's writing is graceful and heartrending. A dance to the sacredness of place and the force of surrender--a most elegant novel."
--Christine Bell, author of The Perez Family and Grievance
"Not since Bel Canto have I enjoyed a novel set in South America as much as I have Toward That Which Is Beautiful. Wernicke's beautiful prose is as enchanting as the story's mountainous landscape and the main characters' love affair. Her writing transports the reader, like a masterful prose poem. Once you start reading, you won't be able to put it down."
--Herta Feely, author of Saving Phoebe Murrow, winner of the Independent Press Award in women's fiction 
"Total commitment can sometimes feel like a foreign territory, especially when it involves, as it does here, the uncertainties of a young nun from St. Louis in the highlands of Peru where even the night sky is unfamiliar. The author, a former nun herself, having spent some years in Peru, brings to the writing an intimate and authentic viewpoint. In moving Sister Mary Katherine to her desperate resolution, Wernicke sustains an inner breathlessness that poetically echoes the Altiplano."
--Allan Peterson, prize-winning poet and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, NEA fellowship recipient 
"For many generations, Latin America has had celebrated writers, and Marian O'Shea Wernicke is following in this rich literary tradition. Her writing will take you, the reader, on a vicarious trip to Peru. Wernicke's novel vividly illustrates the idiosyncrasies of both the native highland people and the city dwellers, as well as the cross-cultural interaction between the American way of life of the missionaries and the Peruvians."
--Dr. Juan Rodriguez, former director of the bilingual education program at the Graduate School of Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell 

Review

“In her novel, Wernicke, a former nun who once worked in Peru, turns what could be a simple tale of forbidden romance into something far more complex. . . . A moving, emotionally resonant tale of one woman’s crisis of faith.”
Kirkus Reviews

Toward That Which Is Beautiful is a lyrical journey of faith and love. Wernicke’s writing is graceful and heartrending. A dance to the sacredness of place and the force of surrender―a most elegant novel.”
―Christine Bell, author of The Perez Family and Grievance

“Not since Bel Canto have I enjoyed a novel set in South America as much as I have Toward That Which Is Beautiful. Wernicke’s beautiful prose is as enchanting as the story’s mountainous landscape and the main characters’ love affair. Her writing transports the reader, like a masterful prose poem. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to put it down.”
―Herta Feely, author of Saving Phoebe Murrow, winner of the Independent Press Award in women’s fiction

“Total commitment can sometimes feel like a foreign territory, especially when it involves, as it does here, the uncertainties of a young nun from St. Louis in the highlands of Peru where even the night sky is unfamiliar. The author, a former nun herself, having spent some years in Peru, brings to the writing an intimate and authentic viewpoint. In moving Sister Mary Katherine to her desperate resolution, Wernicke sustains an inner breathlessness that poetically echoes the Altiplano.”
―Allan Peterson, prize-winning poet and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, NEA fellowship recipient

“For many generations, Latin America has had celebrated writers, and Marian O’Shea Wernicke is following in this rich literary tradition. Her writing will take you, the reader, on a vicarious trip to Peru. Wernicke’s novel vividly illustrates the idiosyncrasies of both the native highland people and the city dwellers, as well as the cross-cultural interaction between the American way of life of the missionaries and the Peruvians.”
―Dr. Juan Rodriguez, former director of the bilingual education program at the Graduate School of Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell

About the Author

Born and raised in an Irish Catholic family in St. Louis, Missouri, Marian O’Shea Wernicke is the eldest of seven children. She was a nun for eleven years and spent three years working in Lima, Peru, during that time. She is a former professor of English and creative writing at Pensacola State College and the author of a memoir about her father called Tom O’Shea: A Twentieth Century Man. She also coedited and contributed to an award-winning book of short fiction and memoir called Confessions: Fact or Fiction? Marian is married to Michael Wernicke, and they are the parents of three adult children. After many years in Pensacola, Florida, they now live in Austin, Texas.









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